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Los Angeles-A lengthy list of lawyers and law firms are pouring political support into a high-profile primary campaign race between two Democrats hoping to become California’s next attorney general. On one side is former Governor Edmund “Jerry” Brown, now mayor of Oakland, the lead candidate running on name recognition and decades of experience in the public sector. On the other is Los Angeles City Attorney Rockard “Rocky” Delgadillo, whose tough-on-crime stance and tales of his humble upbringing are designed to offset what he lacks in name recognition. The June 6 Democratic primary is an important step for the attorney general’s race, since state Senator Chuck Poochigian, R-Fresno, is running uncontested as the Republican candidate. Furthermore, a Democrat is expected to win the race for the state office. Since mid-2005, many of the campaign dollars on both sides came from lawyers. Last month, Delgadillo and Brown exchanged heated remarks in their first public face-off as each topped $600,000 in contributions during the first three months of this year. “There is more of a sense of importance and urgency,” said Stuart Liner, managing partner of Los Angeles-based Liner Yankelevitz Sunshine & Regenstreif, a litigation firm whose lawyers have collectively contributed $43,350 to Delgadillo’s campaign. “People realize you’ve run out of time and now you need to start thinking about support. Some of that is financial.” $4.2M for Brown So far, Brown takes the lead in total campaign contributions, with more than $4.2 million, compared with Delgadillo’s $2.6 million, according to the filings with the California secretary of state’s office as of March 22. Under state law, individuals may give no more than $5,600 per candidate. Despite Brown’s lead, lawyers gave Delgadillo more than three times what they gave to Brown. “He could run for just about any office and people would support him because of the respect everyone has for him at the firm,” said Joe Calabrese, managing partner of the Century City, Calif., office of O’Melveny & Myers, the firm where Delgadillo developed his career in the 1990s. O’Melveny and its lawyers collectively have given $68,550 to Delgadillo, the highest law firm contributor between the two Democratic candidates.
WHO’S GIVING TO WHOM
Top 10 contributers to the Democratic primary race for California attorney general by law firms and individual lawyers at the firm:
Firm Total Delgadillo Brown
O’Melveny & Myers $68,550 $68,550 0
Lerach Coughlin $61,100 $28,500 $32,600
Liner Yankelevitz $43,351 $43,351 0
Latham & Watkins $32,400 $21,800 $10,600
Munger, Tolles & Olson $26,650 $23,150 $3,500
Adorno & Yoss $26,200 $26,200 0
Nossaman Gunther $25,425 $19,825 $5,600
Lewis Brisbois $20,600 $20,600 0
Kaplan Fox $20,000 $19,000 $1,000
Girardi & Keese $17,300 $17,300 $0
Source: California secretary of state’s office.

Delgadillo’s second-highest contributor is Liner Yankelevitz, whose name partner Liner said he has been friends with Delgadillo for 20 years. “When he’s running for something, my partners and colleagues know I support him,” Liner said. Among Brown’s largest law firm supporters is Nixon Peabody, a firm based in the Northeast whose lawyers boosted a $2,000 contribution by the law firm to more than $10,000 total. A firm spokeswoman declined comment. Another big lawyer contributor to Brown is former U.S. Representative Douglas Bosco, D-Sonoma County, who now has law offices in Santa Rosa, Calif. Bosco said he has known Brown since before he became governor. When asked why more attorneys gave to Delgadillo, Bosco noted that many of them have contracts with the city of Los Angeles. “He has proven to be a pretty good investment for law firms,” he said. “They contribute a little bit to his campaign and get lucrative contracts.” Raul Salinas, a partner in the Los Angeles office of Adorno Yoss Alvarado & Smith, disputed that theory. His parent firm, Miami-based Adorno & Yoss, gave $5,600 to Delgadillo. “Folks give primarily to people they know,” said Salinas, who along with three other lawyers at the firm gave another $20,600 in combined contributions to Delgadillo, making Adorno & Yoss the sixth-largest supporter among law firms in the Democratic primary. “Rocky is a lawyer.” Some firms have opted to hedge their bets on the race. Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins and its lawyers, who collectively made up the second-highest law firm contributor in the attorney general’s race, gave $28,500 to Delgadillo and $32,600 to Brown. Similarly, lawyers at Latham & Watkins collectively gave $21,800 to Delgadillo and $10,600 to Brown, making it the fourth-largest contributor as a whole. The firm did not directly give any contributions.

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